Abstract Wealthy Chicagoans founded the Field Columbian Museum in the aftermath of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Founders intended their institution to be the greatest of its kind – like the fair it was meant to memorialize – and they wanted to achieve this status right from the very beginning. One important aspect of the new museum’s mandate was zoology. To this end, the museum established two separate scientific departments, the Department of Ornithology and the Department of Zoology (except Ornithology). In its first years, the museum focused its efforts on acquiring collections, creating credible exhibits and hiring and retaining a prominent zoological staff. Research and publications were a lower priority. This paper chronicles the first full year of the museum’s history, when its zoological departments were first getting established. In memoriam, Gary Giannoni (1961–2017) The World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893, was by most contemporary accounts the greatest world’s fair in history. The United States Congress had passed a bill in 1888 to promote an international exposition to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the New World. Several American cities vied for the honour of hosting the exposition, including New York, Washington, dc, St Louis, and Chicago. Chicago won, on the strength of its financial commitment, its ample park space, and its role as a major transportation hub. Daniel P. Burnham, chief architect, chose a classical design for the exposition’s buildings, including the popular favourite, Charles Atwood’s Palace of Fine Arts. The exposition featured a bewildering array of exhibits. The Agricultural Building, for example, boasted a 1,500-pound chocolate replica of the Venus de Milo. In the Electricity Building, Nikola Tesla introduced his new fluorescent light bulb. Among the fair’s most popular attractions was the Ferris Wheel, designed and built by George W. Ferris. Other popular attractions included sedan chairs, bum-bum candy and hootchy-kootchy dancers.1 The fair was a stunning success: ‘the world’s greatest achievement of the departing century’, according to writer George Ade.2Shepp’s World’s Fair Photographed, a popular souvenir booklet authorized by exposition managers, credited the builders of the fair with divine inspiration. ‘Those who wrought these miracles’, it proclaimed, ‘must have been very near to God.’3 The leaders of Chicago’s business community, many of whom were instrumental in planning and financing the fair, were exceedingly proud of their accomplishment. They regarded the fair as their personal victory over East Coast élitism. A Chicago Tribune editorial trumpeted this sentiment, claiming: ‘It is a World’s Fair as far as its . . . exhibits are concerned. It is a Chicago Fair so far as energy, public spirit, enterprise, courage, and determination are concerned . . . Chicago deserves the credit.’4 But the fair was a temporary triumph intended to last only six short months. Proud Chicagoans, loathe to see the fair come to a close, sought to perpetuate their achievement. Thus, in September 1893, a group of local businessmen agreed to establish a museum as a permanent memorial of the fair. The new museum was intended by its founders to be the best of its kind: immense and all-encompassing. Its founding charter listed art, archaeology, science and history as the museum’s subject areas.5 The waning world’s fair afforded an opportunity to assemble a museum from its vast assortment of no-longer-needed exhibits. In other words, with a liberal acquisitions policy and a generous budget, Chicago could pick and choose its museum almost ready-made from the detritus of the fair. Indeed, for a city devoted to business and bereft of cultural amenities, acquiring ‘instant cultural and scientific prestige’6 was an important goal. Unfortunately, 1893 was a year of recession. Thus, raising the money to finance a museum was a particularly difficult hurdle. Edward E. Ayer, a lumber magnate, was chair of the finance committee. After many disappointments, he finally solicited a hefty contribution for the museum from his merchant friend Marshall Field, the wealthiest man in Chicago. In gratitude, patrons named their new institution the Field Columbian Museum. Once Field had committed $1 million, the financial future of the institution seemed secure, and more donations tumbled in. Field felt a deep interest in the welfare of his namesake institution. Although he visited frequently and offered abundant counsel, he nevertheless remained aloof of the formal administration of the museum. Ayer, on the other hand, who was chief-instigator and who surrendered his enormous private collection of ethnographic objects to the museum, became president of its board of trustees. Martin A. Ryerson, a prominent Chicago lawyer, businessman and heir, became first vice-president. Harlow N. Higinbotham, who had served as president of the exposition, was appointed chair of the board’s executive committee.7 With financial backing secured, museum organizers began in earnest to acquire specimens and whole collections from exhibitors at the fair. The first two weeks of November 1893, for example, witnessed the first major purchases made for the museum. On 18 November, the former Palace of Fine Arts (Fig. 1), one of the most iconic buildings on the fairgrounds, was chosen to be the temporary home of the new museum.8 On 7 December, a group of museum organizers and their allies gathered there to determine a preliminary arrangement for exhibits. At this meeting, Frederick James Volney Skiff assumed temporary charge of administering the museum. On 26 January 1894, the trustees confirmed Skiff as the museum’s first permanent director.9 Fig. 1. View largeDownload slide An exterior view of the former Palace of Fine Arts from the early twentieth century, when the building was the temporary home of the Field Columbian Museum. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csgn21029. Fig. 1. View largeDownload slide An exterior view of the former Palace of Fine Arts from the early twentieth century, when the building was the temporary home of the Field Columbian Museum. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csgn21029. Born in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in 1851, Skiff moved to Denver, Colorado where he worked in newspapers. In time, he became manager and part owner of the Denver Tribune. A prominent Colorado citizen, he was elected to two terms in the state legislature. In 1889, Colorado’s governor appointed Skiff superintendent of the Bureau of Immigration and Statistics. In this capacity, he was responsible for preparing an exhibit on Colorado mining – one of the state’s leading industries – for the World’s Columbian Exposition. So well-organized and attractive was his exhibit that Skiff was chosen to serve the exposition as chief of the Department of Mines, Mining and Metallurgy. He later ascended to deputy director-general of the exposition under Higinbotham. Skiff was a dependable and trusted middle manager, amenable to the Chicago businessmen who would later become museum patrons. Yet he apparently had no scientific training nor any formal museum experience. Nor had he ever directed the work of research scientists.10 Not everyone was comfortable with Skiff’s qualifications. Some of the scientific curators, for example, expressed misgivings about Skiff’s role in the museum, several insisting on maintaining complete control of their own departments as a condition of their employment. They were particularly concerned that Skiff’s lack of science training precluded him from managing the scientific activities of the museum. In fact, they took this idea for granted, one curator writing to Ayer that ‘Skiff has done wonders in arranging and running the Museum but of course he is not competent to criticize or arrange a Zoological Department.’11 Skiff, who saw his role as that of a facilitator, worked to allay the curators’ fears. ‘I do not desire, and never have desired to interfere in the slightest degree in the plans and the work of any [scientific] Department’, Skiff explained to the wary curator. ‘On the contrary, it is my desire, as it is my duty, to assist in carrying out the plans of the Departments, and to add whatever wisdom or energy I may have in supplementing the work so undertaken.’12 Experience would show, however, that Skiff was not always content with limiting himself to a supplementary role. From the very beginning, patrons intended their museum to be a place not only of public entertainment and education – like the exposition – but also a research organization. Thus, a staff of scientists and technicians was necessary at the museum from the outset. These men – there were few women in museum science in the late nineteenth century, and none at the Field Columbian Museum – were expected to assemble, care for and exhibit their collections, and to produce original research as a part of their professional responsibilities. The museum’s publication series, inaugurated in 1894, speaks to the museum’s mission to create – and not only to disseminate – knowledge. As Skiff explained it: ‘[A] good museum, while devoted to the people, must also perform its function in the higher field of extending knowledge.’13 Building collections and attracting a staff of first-rate scientists was imperative for fulfilling the museum’s mandate as a research organization. A focus on zoology The Field Columbian Museum made zoology one of its first and highest scientific priorities. It acquired its first zoological collections in November 1893, on the same day that it settled on a building in which to house them. It obtained these by purchase from Ward’s Natural Science Establishment exhibit at the close of the exposition. Ward’s enormous exhibit had filled thirty freight cars and represented the work of seventy-four men over many months.14 The museum bought the entire collection. According to a contract written by Henry A. Ward and signed by Ayer, these included, among other things, three distinct zoological collections, namely: ‘a cabinet of invertebrate animals’, consisting of some 2,000 insects and 12,000 shells; ‘a cabinet of stuffed animals of all classes’, with 305 mounted mammals and 650 mounted birds; and, finally, ‘a cabinet of comparative anatomy’, including 238 skeletons of birds and mammals, forty-seven fishes and sixty-four reptiles and amphibians. Cabinets, labels, mountings and fixtures of every kind were included in the sale. Also included was the delivery of these collections from the south gallery of the Anthropological Building – where they had been exhibited during the fair – to designated rooms in the Palace of Fine Arts. The cost of this contract, the museum’s first major purchase, was $100,000.15 The labour of dismantling, transporting and re-mounting these specimens would fall to some of Ward’s own staff during the months of November, December and early January.16 One of Ward’s most ambitious staff members was a young malacologist named Frank Collins Baker. Born 14 December 1867, Baker was from an early age an enthusiastic collector of exotic shells. He enrolled at Brown University for one year (1888–9), then earned a Jessup scholarship to study at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. There, he became associated with Henry A. Pilsbry and the academy’s tradition for ‘sound molluscan studies’.17 In 1891, following extensive correspondence with Henry A. Ward, Baker began working for Ward’s Natural Science Establishment in Rochester, New York, where he identified and organized the mollusc collections. When Ward’s elected to exhibit its wares at the World’s Columbian Exposition, Baker was tasked with creating a synoptic display of invertebrates. Baker then travelled to Chicago to supervise the installation of his exhibit.18 After the Field Columbian Museum purchased Ward’s entire catalogue, Baker was instrumental in breaking down the display, transporting the specimens and their cases to the Palace of Fine Arts, and setting them up again. By 24 January, once the collections were re-installed at the museum, Ward’s contract was satisfied. But, to transform the Ward’s materials into a credible museum exhibit, more-or-less uniform in appearance with other exhibits in the museum, the entire collection would have to be re-arranged and re-labelled. Baker had already worked for months with these collections. Moreover, he somehow convinced Albert G. Lane, Chicago’s much-respected superintendent of public schools, to write him a letter of recommendation, which brought the malacol- ogist to Skiff’s attention in mid-February.19 Skiff, at first, declined to hire him, but three weeks later, on 8 March, he offered Baker the position of temporary curator of zoology, in charge of re-installing the ‘Birds, Animals and Anatomy’.20 Baker was to begin immediately and to serve in this capacity at least until the museum opened to the public at the beginning of May. Four days later, he was given permission to hire a taxidermist to help him re-mount the shabbiest of the Ward’s specimens.21 He apparently chose Frank Morley Woodruff, a young man with an avid interest in natural history, particularly birds. Woodruff had come to the museum’s attention through the World’s Columbian Exposition, also, where he had collected and mounted a number of bird specimens for an ornithological exhibit in the Illinois State Building, under the general supervision of Stephen A. Forbes, director of the State Laboratory of Natural History.22 Later in March, Skiff added a third man, Henry Kelso Coale, to the temporary zoology staff. Born in Chicago on 28 February 1858, Coale was educated in public schools and became deeply interested at a young age in the study of birds. He acquired his first collection of bird skins beginning in 1880, and was an associate member of the American Ornithologists’ Union from 1883. To support himself and his growing family, Coale worked in a succession of mercantile firms in the city, selling mostly coal and wood. He later opened his own business, styling himself a ‘buyer’ for the army, supplying any number of items and services for army officers who were too busy to do their own shopping.23 Meanwhile, he spent many of his spare hours wandering through northern Illinois marshes and along rivers, hunting for and amassing a large collection of local birds. He traded his duplicates with an international network of like-minded ornithologists, in this way acquiring an impressive collection of rare and foreign specimens. Coale was a founding member and first secretary of the Ridgway Ornithological Club, which was organized in Chicago on 6 September 1883. In regular meetings, which sometimes took place at the Chicago Academy of Sciences, Coale and his friends presented original papers and compared and exchanged bird specimens.24 The scientific status of Coale and his colleagues was ambiguous. As historian of science Daniel Lewis puts it, members of the Ridgway Ornithological Club ‘were neither quite amateur fish nor professional fowl.’25 For example, Coale made his living as a shopkeeper. Yet he collected and traded bird specimens and published an impressive number of descriptive papers and short notes, most of these appearing in The Auk, a specialty journal published by the American Ornithologists’ Union. His most fervent wish, though, was to fly from the business world and land a job at a museum as a professional ornithologist. In October 1893, when news of the founding of the Field Columbian Museum was first beginning to spread, Coale wrote to James W. Ellsworth, an officer of the World’s Columbian Exposition and one of the instigators of the museum movement in Chicago. He offered his collection of ‘native and foreign birds’ to the new museum, and proposed himself for a position as ornithologist. Ellsworth replied to thank him for his generous offer, but he took no action.26 Coale learned of Skiff’s appointment in late January, and wrote to the new director to repeat his offer. ‘Whether I am ever connected with the Museum or not’, he wrote, ‘you may depend on me as a friend of the institution, and I will do what I can toward making it a success.’27 Yet he was not as blasé about the opportunity as his note to Skiff would suggest. Two days later, in a letter to Joel A. Allen, an ornithologist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, he wrote: ‘I would like very much to secure a position in the Bird Department of the Columbian Museum, and if you could send me a letter of recommendation . . . I think it would help me very much.’28 In March, on the strength of references from Ridgway, ornithologist Charles Bendire and others,29 Skiff offered Coale his first professional position as an ornithologist, but at a very modest wage.30 A separate department for ornithology? The Field Museum made a second major purchase of zoological specimens in late January 1894 when it acquired for $17,000 the Charles B. Cory collection of approximately 15,000 bird skins, along with their display cases and storage cans. As a condition of the sale, Cory wanted a lifetime appointment as curator of ornithology at the new museum, a condition that the museum accepted with some apparent reluctance. For his own part, Cory was ambivalent about the sale, writing: ‘I am both sorry and glad that the museum has decided to take my collection.’31 Charles Barney Cory (Fig. 2) was born in Boston in 1857. An indulgent father, who had amassed a large private fortune in the luxury import business, encouraged his son’s interest in natural history. At the age of eleven, Cory saved his money and secretly bought a pistol with which he shot birds. At sixteen, he organized a hunting and fishing expedition to Maine. By 1874, he had begun to assemble a private collection of bird skins. The following year, he made a grand tour of Europe with his mother. In Florence, Italy, while pitching pennies to beggars on the Arno River, Cory met and befriended another young American from Chicago named Martin A. Ryerson. Together with Cory’s mother, they travelled to Egypt and hunted birds along the Nile. One year later, they both enrolled at Harvard University, where they were roommates. At Harvard, Cory entered the Lawrence Scientific School, and worked at the Museum of Comparative Zoology under the de facto curator of birds and mammals, Joel A. Allen. Having little patience for rules and regulations, he never graduated.32 Fig. 2. View largeDownload slide Portrait of the Curator of Ornithology, Charles Barney Cory. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz44704. Fig. 2. View largeDownload slide Portrait of the Curator of Ornithology, Charles Barney Cory. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz44704. In 1877, Cory took an extended trip to Florida. He thus began ‘a life of freedom and pleasure in the pursuit of natural history and sport which has scarcely been equalled and which might well be the envy of many a man.’33 Over a period of nearly thirty years, Cory made a multitude of trips – to Florida and elsewhere – collecting birds, hunting and fishing, and pursuing various outdoor sports and hobbies. With an ample allowance provided by his father, Cory ‘spent money freely and doubtless foresaw no future in which money would ever be a problem.’34 In the summer of 1882, Cory’s father died, leaving him an heir to the family fortune. He married the following spring, then built a summer retreat on a 1,000-acre estate at Great Island, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, where he established a private game preserve and bird sanctuary. He put a platform atop the abandoned Point Gammon Lighthouse for bird-watching. He used the former keeper’s house to store his butterfly collection. During this period, he wrote several books about his travels, as well as several shorter articles describing new bird species in The Auk and other scientific periodicals. Young and wealthy, Cory’s friends and peers were other men of means,35 including Ryerson, Ayer, and others. Cory often employed younger naturalists who accompanied him on his trips and who also independently collected birds for him. In this way, his collection of birds, which was particularly strong in species from North America and especially the West Indies, had grown prodigiously. But, with time, his expanding collection became more and more difficult to manage. By 1892, it numbered some 19,000 specimens and filled three rooms in his Boston mansion. That year, Cory sold the house in Boston and began drawing up plans with an architect to build a small, private museum for his collection.36 But Cory’s plans changed in December 1893, when his friend Ayer wrote him a letter soliciting his ornithological collection for the new Field Columbian Museum in Chicago. Sensing an opportunity, Cory replied that he could ‘not afford to present it to any museum’. As an alternative, he proposed to sell the collection for ‘a very reasonable price, lower still if I am made curator . . . The collections contain some 15,000 selected [bird] specimens’, he explained, ‘. . . also some mammals, eggs & nests – my library (ornithological) ought to go with it[.] The whole collection is in splendid shape . . .’ The collection featured more than sixty of Cory’s type specimens. It also contained several ‘unique’ and ‘some extinct species’. Cory wanted his collection to remain in the United States, otherwise, he claimed, he ‘could have lately sold it abroad, but I should be like a carpenter without tools if I let it leave the country.’37 Because he was then still travelling extensively, Cory had no desire to be tied down to the drudgery of curatorial responsibilities. Instead, he arranged to draw no salary from the museum and to serve in a more-or-less honorary, advisory capacity. An agreement was settled informally between Cory and Ayer in late January 1894; it was later sanctioned by the museum’s executive committee at a meeting held on 22 May, where Cory was ‘elected Honorary Curator of the subdivision of Ornithology.’38 This arrangement was ideal for Cory’s vagabond lifestyle. ‘[I]t gave him some distinction, [and] enabled him to continue enlarging his collection without being burdened with petty details of its care.’39 A succession of younger naturalists, including George K. Cherrie, William A. Bryan and Ned Dearborn, were employed as assistant curators by the museum. These men did Cory’s bidding and cared for the collections in the curator’s absence. Cory, himself, made one or two visits to the museum every year, and offered general recommendations regarding his department to the director, Skiff. As Cory put it in a remarkable notation in his personal records: ‘I am at liberty to work as much or little as I please, but must direct the general government of the collection.’40 Despite the looseness of his connection to the museum, Cory came to wield a surprising amount of influence through his correspondence with Ryerson and especially Ayer, which was often filled with unsolicited advice about museum operations. ‘Whether you take the collection or not’, he offered in a typical letter, ‘I should like to talk to you about your new museum.’ He knew, for example, that his Chicago friends had ambitions to create something special with their museum, and that they intended to do so right away. Cory encouraged their ambitions while also urging patience: ‘If you go to work in the right way and spend your money to the best advantage,’ he cautioned, ‘you can have the finest museum in the world in time.’41 Cory also stressed the urgency of making certain zoological collections before the clock of extinction had run down: Through the short-sighted way the heads of the large Museums have made their collections many mammals are not represented by a single specimen in the country and some (like the White Rhinoceros) are in no museum in the world. Many of the beautiful antelopes of South Africa can now be bought for a reasonable price, but like the Bison (Buffalo) are becoming extinct & soon cannot be bought at any price – with birds the same way . . . I do not think that people recognize the great decrease which is taking place in many forms of animal life in this generation[.] [I]mproved fire arms, increases of population and destruction of forests sound the knell of many birds & mammals and it is only a question of time when they will entirely disappear[.]42 Finally, Cory had much advice to offer regarding the scientific staffing of the museum. ‘If you want one or two good men,’ he suggested, ‘I think I can help you to get the best in the world at reasonable prices.’ Cory assumed – correctly – that the museum would eventually want to publish its own scientific journal. ‘[T]he better men you have to write[,] the more valuable the articles will be to the scientific world at large. I know a splendid mammal and also a reptile man that I think could be had by going the right way about it.’43 Cory offered to write a confidential letter to his scientific colleague, to see at what price the museum might obtain his services. In the winter and spring of 1894, however, the museum was bending all its energies toward getting the building and its exhibits ship-shape for opening day. Ayer and Skiff were giving little thought at that time to hiring a permanent research staff. As opening day approached that attitude began to change. The mammal man that Cory had in mind was none other than his former Harvard mentor, Joel A. Allen, who was by then the curator of the Department of Mammalogy and Ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Cory did some sleuthing at the American Museum, and estimated that Allen’s services could be poached with a definite offer of $4,500 per year. In a letter dated 10 May 1894, Cory again offered to approach Allen, intimating that he would be willing to solicit individual subscriptions from private donors to help raise the necessary salary. The executive committee agreed to contribute $2,500, and instructed Skiff to communicate this to Cory, with permission for him to extend an unofficial offer to Allen.44 This Cory did in a letter dated 8 June, inviting Allen to consider a position as curator of mammalogy and editor of the Field Columbian Museum’s scientific publications. He apparently tried to sweeten the deal – for both of them – by suggesting that Allen could serve as acting curator of ornithology in Cory’s absence and under his general supervision.45 Allen was flattered by the gesture, but not particularly tempted. He hinted that a ‘considerable increase’ in salary would be very appealing, but that ‘in every other way the change would be a great sacrifice.’ He had already invested a great deal of time and energy developing his department in New York. To leave and start over would be an enormous loss. Moreover, he was concerned about the possible loss of autonomy in Chicago, insisting that as a condition of accepting the appointment that he would have to be given absolute authority ‘to manage my own department as I see fit, subject only to the direction of the Trustees or Board of Management.’ And he was especially concerned about a potential clash with Cory over ornithology. ‘As regards birds’, Allen delicately explained, ‘I should not wish to interfere in any way with any plans of yours for literary work . . . but would not like to be cut off from original work in the line of ornithology at the Columbian Museum.’46 In the end, the American Museum made the decision easy for him by offering him a substantial raise the moment they learned that he was considering another offer. Allen wrote to Cory in July to thank him for his ‘kind intentions’ and to formally decline the offer.47 ‘If you cannot get Allen then get Elliot’ This was a disappointment, of course, but it was not entirely unexpected. In any case, Cory had an alternative plan that he acted on immediately. In late June, when Allen was still considering the unofficial offer, Cory had written to Ayer to warn him that Allen was ‘on the fence’, and that he should send him a definite offer himself. Cory was by now all but convinced that Allen would never leave the New York museum. He suggested to Ayer that ‘if you cannot get Allen then get [Daniel Giraud] Elliot.’ He closed the letter emphatically, urging: Write me what I shall do about getting [E]lliot as I give you my word that the Museum cannot afford to lose one or the other. (Elliot or Allen.) [The museum] would not be able to get any other men in this country to compare with them for certain kinds of work, and if we do it, we must do it quick and settle on something . . . I wish that you would . . . authorize me yourself in case Allen could not be engaged, to engage Elliot for say $3,000.48 Cory’s plan to offer the position to Elliot was approved at an executive committee meeting on 11 July 1894.49 Two weeks later, when Allen’s letter declining the position was mailed to Cory at his Great Island estate, Elliot happened to be visiting. Cory offered him the position on the spot. Like Allen, Elliot demurred. So, Cory sent a telegram to Ayer to explain Elliot’s reluctance: ‘Elliot will not accept unless in control of his depart[ment] only under trustees as regards scientific matters’, Cory wrote, ‘will probably not accept less than 4000 may possibly accept 3500 no less what shall I do[?]’ Ayer replied immediately: ‘No director would want to interfere with the scientific part of any department[.] We all think thirty five hundred ought to be enough.’ Skiff arrived for a hurried visit to Great Island the following day. Together, the three men hammered out a tentative arrangement whereby Elliot agreed to come to Chicago as curator on a trial basis for $3,500, plus $500 for expenses.50 The Field Museum’s new curator of zoology, Daniel Giraud Elliot (Fig. 3), was born on 7 March 1835 to a wealthy family in New York City. He was interested in natural history as a young boy, and initiated a personal collection of bird skins. In Elliot’s youth, Philadelphia was an important American centre for natural history – far more important than his home town. He went there, and spent time learning ornithology in the shadow of John Cassin at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where Elliot’s feathered specimens jostled for table space with the snakes and lizards of a young Edward Drinker Cope. Many years later, Elliot recalled the loneliness and isolation he felt as a budding New York naturalist: ‘[T]here was no one of my age anywhere to be found who sympathized with me in my pursuit; I was practically alone.’51 Fig. 3. View largeDownload slide Portrait of the Curator of Zoology, Daniel Giraud Elliot. Courtesy, The Field Museum. gn79347. Fig. 3. View largeDownload slide Portrait of the Curator of Zoology, Daniel Giraud Elliot. Courtesy, The Field Museum. gn79347. Elliot had prepared to enter Columbia College in 1852, but frail health kept him grounded. Instead, he embarked on a series of trips to warmer, drier climates in search of health, recreation and studious self-improvement. His earliest travels were confined to the southern United States and the West Indies. The different faunas in these places excited his interest in zoology. In 1857, he went to Brazil, where travel was difficult but the diverse animal life was correspondingly rewarding. He crossed to Europe, visiting Malta and Sicily and then the Nile River in Egypt, everywhere adding to his growing collection of birds. From Cairo, he crossed the desert to Palestine, trekking to Petra, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Damascus, often on the back of a camel. Thereafter he returned to Europe, stopping at the natural history museums of London and Paris and establishing invaluable friendships with English and French naturalists.52 Elliot published his first paper describing several new species of birds in 1859, while travelling in Europe.53 Over the next ten years, he published a series of lavishly-illustrated monographs on several bird families. With few exceptions, Elliot painted all the figures for these volumes himself. According to ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, ‘[N]o expense was spared in their reproduction . . . these monographs were the most elaborate publications of the kind which had appeared’54 in the United States. In the winter of 1868–9, Albert S. Bickmore was labouring to establish the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, when he turned to Elliot for scientific advice. Bickmore likewise hoped to net Elliot’s private collection of birds for the new museum. Elliot, who was planning to travel abroad again for an indefinite period, and had nowhere else to keep it, agreed to donate the collection. This collection, which consisted of some 1,000 bird skins, was among the first material of any kind obtained by the new museum. These specimens were given over to the leading taxidermist in New York, John Graham Bell, who mounted them for exhibition in the Arsenal Building in Central Park, the museum’s temporary home.55 In 1869, Elliot began a long period of living abroad, largely in London. Elliot took a great interest in the meetings of the Zoological Society of London during this time, relishing the company of eminent naturalists. ‘[N]o such body of celebrated men, all members of one Zoological Society had ever before been assembled together, and we may believe it will be a long time before one equal to it will be again seen, for it was the height of zoological activity in the world, when indeed there were giants in the land.’56 He likewise spent a great deal of time working in the society’s incomparable research library, where he would often see the likes of Alfred Russel Wallace or Charles Darwin, the latter ‘seeking information on some particular subject he was then investigating, demanding facts not theories.’57 He continued to work on several illustrated ornithological monographs, including one on birds of paradise and another on hornbills. He also published his first book on mammals during this period: A Monograph of the Felidae, a folio with forty-three hand-coloured lithographs. For these latter works, Elliot commissioned magnificent watercolour paintings from Joseph Wolf, Joseph Smit and John Gerrard Keulemans.58 While Elliot was in Europe, he examined several privately-held natural history collections on behalf of the American Museum. The trustees of the museum, through Robert L. Stuart, the museum’s second president, had commissioned Elliot to make purchases of specimens that in his judgement would be advantageous for the museum to have. In this way, the American Museum acquired several notable private collections of mammals and birds from Prince Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied, a selection of valuable material from the Jules Verreaux collection in Paris, another from Gustav Adolph Frank in Amsterdam, and more. One day he happened by the window of a London taxidermist’s shop where he spied a specimen of the extinct great auk in winter plumage – a very rare bird, indeed – and bought it for the museum at a hefty price. When the other trustees hesitated to honour the purchase, Stuart agreed to pay for it himself, and gave it to the young museum. Later, in 1887, Elliot gave the museum a large collection of hummingbirds, as well as his extensive ornithological library. These collections formed the nucleus of the vast natural history holdings of the American Museum.59 Elliot returned from Europe in 1883, and settled in New Brighton, on Staten Island. He continued to work on descriptive papers and monographs of birds and mammals at the American Museum, often working together with the museum’s new curators, J. A. Allen and Frank Chapman. Though he is virtually unknown today, Elliot was one of the most celebrated naturalists of his own day. His lavishly illustrated monographs had earned him abundant accolades. He was decorated by many European governments, and was an active member of many scientific societies, both foreign and domestic. He was the ‘guiding hand’ in laying the foundation for the zoological department at the American Museum. ‘With a practical knowledge of the requirements of a working museum, Dr. Elliot was also a man of affairs who could impress the trustees . . . with the soundness of his views.’60 In other words, Elliot was a wealthy, well-bred man cut from the same cloth as many of the museum’s trustees. For this reason, they trusted his judgement to develop the scientific side of the museum in ways that they might have been reluctant to do with a mere scientist. When Cory offered Elliot a position at the Field Columbian Museum in 1894, it was probably the challenge of starting and running his own new department that appealed to him most. Elliot accepted that challenge. It was the first and only paid position that he ever held. Cory, for his part, was pleased that his new zoology colleague was someone well-known to him. Patrons of the Field Museum, too, felt very fortunate in having secured Elliot’s services, and especially in having lured him away from the American Museum. As Bickmore told a reporter for the New York Times, ‘Chicago would gain by the appointment of Mr. Elliot at the expense of New-York.’61 Elliot was a good choice for the position. Given his unusual background and experience, there was arguably no man better suited in America to build up a museum zoology department from practically nothing. Making room for Elliot To make room for Elliot, the museum first had to dispense with its temporary zoology staff, including Woodruff, Coale and Baker. The temporary scientific staff had accomplished a great deal of work. Baker, in particular, had been instrumental in reinstalling the zoological exhibits. When the Field Museum first opened to the public, Baker’s collection of invertebrates, exhibited in Halls 24 and 25 (Fig. 4), was certainly the most complete and arguably the most credible of any of the several zoological divisions in the new institution. In fact, the collection of molluscs was singled out in the museum’s guidebook as ‘one of great value to the student’. The great value of the collection, according to museum authorities, was not only the number of individual specimens it contained, but the large number of different genera represented, thus ‘making the collection as a whole an excellent manual of Malacology’.62 Elsewhere, the collection was described as ‘especially rich’, representing ‘nearly every family, genus and sub-genus, at present described’.63 In addition to some 12,000 shells, the collection included a number of glass models of sea-slugs and cephalopods beautifully made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, as well as life-sized models of a giant squid and of the largest known octopus (Fig. 5). In short, the invertebrate exhibits were excellent. The remainder of the zoology exhibits, on the other hand, were somewhat thin. For example, by the museum’s own account, the worms were ‘very indifferently shown’. The crustacean exhibit was described as ‘valuable . . . so far as it goes’. Insects were represented only by ‘the more conspicuous of the butterflies and moths’. The vertebrates (Fig. 6) were ‘very unequally represented’, with ‘the great majority of species . . . wanting’. The birds, for example, were represented by a collection that was very ‘limited as to numbers and species’.64 Fig. 4. View largeDownload slide Floor-plan of the Field Columbian Museum showing the arrangement of the museum’s zoology and ornithology exhibit halls in 1894. Adapted from the guide cited in note 7. Fig. 4. View largeDownload slide Floor-plan of the Field Columbian Museum showing the arrangement of the museum’s zoology and ornithology exhibit halls in 1894. Adapted from the guide cited in note 7. Fig. 5. View largeDownload slide Hall 24 – Invertebrates, around early 1894. A Wardian case filled with Blaschka glass models of invertebrate animals occupies the foreground. Hall 20 – Vertebrate Zoology, is visible through the doorway. Neither of these halls was ready yet for opening day in June 1894. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz6227. Fig. 5. View largeDownload slide Hall 24 – Invertebrates, around early 1894. A Wardian case filled with Blaschka glass models of invertebrate animals occupies the foreground. Hall 20 – Vertebrate Zoology, is visible through the doorway. Neither of these halls was ready yet for opening day in June 1894. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz6227. Fig. 6. View largeDownload slide Hall 20 – Vertebrate Zoology, around early 1894. Hall 20 was apparently used as a staging area for zoological specimens, as there are specimens shown here which would later be displayed in other halls, particularly Hall 27 – Osteology. The original labels from Ward’s Natural Science Establishment are still associated with the specimens shown here. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz6226. Fig. 6. View largeDownload slide Hall 20 – Vertebrate Zoology, around early 1894. Hall 20 was apparently used as a staging area for zoological specimens, as there are specimens shown here which would later be displayed in other halls, particularly Hall 27 – Osteology. The original labels from Ward’s Natural Science Establishment are still associated with the specimens shown here. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz6226. In spite of their shortcomings, the zoological exhibits were well received by Chicagoans. In a preview of the museum published in April 1894, the Chicago Tribune advised: ‘Cross the west court (Fig. 7) and onto the department of zoology, where F. C. Baker and H. K. Coale have arranged in the order of development one of the greatest animal life exhibits on the continent.’65 It was also obvious to museum visitors that a great deal had been accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. According to another Chicago Tribune article about opening day: ‘The time was but brief, the work was stupendous, but the people yesterday found all the great halls and spacious rooms filled with objects scientifically classified and rightly arranged.’66 Skiff recognized that much of the credit for the museum’s appearance on opening day was due to the Herculean efforts of his scientific subordinates. Regarding the temporary curator of zoology, Skiff wrote (with much understatement): ‘Mr. Baker . . . has been of much assistance to me in organizing the museum.’67 Fig. 7. View largeDownload slide The West Court, c.1894. Many oversized specimens were exhibited here. After 1896, this was the space into which the Zoology Department expanded. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csgeo6232. Fig. 7. View largeDownload slide The West Court, c.1894. Many oversized specimens were exhibited here. After 1896, this was the space into which the Zoology Department expanded. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csgeo6232. Trouble probably began for Baker and his zoology comrades when Skiff and Ayer summoned Cory to Chicago for ‘an immediate consultation’ regarding – presumably – the disposition of museum departments and scientific staff.68 Cory arrived on Monday morning, 25 June.69 Baker and Coale, meanwhile, had co-written a paper describing nineteen new species of birds from specimens in the Field Columbian Museum’s modest ornithology collection. (Cory’s far more extensive collection had not yet arrived in Chicago.) The museum was soon to initiate a fledgling scientific publication series, so Baker submitted the manuscript to Skiff for consideration. Skiff, who knew nothing of birds, handed the paper over to Cory for his judgement. Cory then read the manuscript carefully and examined Baker’s type specimens at the museum. He did not mince words in his feedback to Skiff. ‘I must say’, he wrote, ‘a more unscientific and badly written paper I have never seen.’ Later, in New York, he allegedly discussed the work with Allen, who, according to Cory, remarked ‘that if by any chance the Chicago museum had published it as it stands in its bulletin it would have been the laughing stock of the scientific world.’ The paper was so full of errors, in Cory’s estimation, that it should be buried rather than revised. ‘For heaven’s sake don’t print the thing’, he advised; ‘let [the authors] send it to the “Auk” . . . and they will hear a few remarks from the publishers which will allay their thirst for notoriety.’70 Not content merely to kill the paper, Cory wrote to Ayer and urged him to ‘get rid of Baker . . . [B]y barring out incompetent hustlers, we will make that [zoological] department second to none, but it will take time, work and ability.’71 There is no record of Cory’s meeting with Skiff and Ayer. Yet, according to Skiff’s own account, by the following day, 26 June, Baker, Coale and Woodruff had all resigned their museum positions, to take effect immediately. The split seems to have been reasonably amicable, as they were all given two weeks’ salary in advance for their vacations.72 The next day, Skiff wrote a letter of introduction on Baker’s behalf to Selim H. Peabody, President of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. ‘He wishes an interview of a professional nature’, Skiff wrote, ‘and I bespeak for him your kindest consideration.’73 The academy had recently constructed a new museum building on Chicago’s north side, but it lacked a capable natural scientist who could put its new exhibits in order.74 By 16 July 1894, Baker had accepted a new position as curator of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, where he remained until 1915.75 Baker brought Woodruff along to serve as his taxidermist and assistant curator. Woodruff later succeeded Baker as director in 1915, and remained until his death in 1926.76 Coale, by contrast, felt much aggrieved by his unexpected reversal of fortune. In a letter to Ayer, he pleaded: Owing to the recent change in the Zoological Department, I have been relieved from duty at the Museum . . . I have proven that I had the interests of the Museum at heart by hard work, and the donation and loan of many valuable specimens and books . . . Now, through no fault of my own[,] I have lost the means of supporting my family . . . I believe that Mr. Skiff would gladly second my reappointment and know of no reason why Mr. Corey [sic] should object . . . I should be happy to accept any position that you may consider me worthy to fill.77 Coale’s desperate letter, however, was apparently ignored, and he was never re-instated at the museum. Instead, he returned to the business world, where (in time) he did very well in real estate. He continued to collect and trade bird skins, and amassed a large and diverse collection over the remainder of his life. A portion of this important collection, consisting of approximately 2,500 specimens representing more than 1,000 species, was purchased by the Field Museum in 1935.78 Baker’s vacated position was later filled by Elliot. The departures of Woodruff and Coale, meanwhile, created an opportunity for Elliot to hire an assistant curator. In January 1894, when Cory first started agitating for the museum to hire Allen, he had also made reference to another potential curator, whom he referred to as a ‘splendid . . . reptile man’.79 In August, after tentative arrangements with Elliot had been fixed, Cory wrote to Skiff with more specifics. ‘There is a very good man Dr O[liver] P[erry] Hay’, Cory recommended, ‘who is up in Fish & Reptiles . . . [I]f Elliot needs an assistant he would do well.’80 As it happened, Hay had been clamouring for a position at the Field Columbian Museum for quite some time already – indeed, within days or (at most) weeks of the museum’s founding, Hay, then a special student in zoology at the University of Chicago, had written a letter to Sidney C. Eastman, an officer with the World’s Columbian Exposition, expressing interest in obtaining a position at the new institution. As the museum then existed on paper only, Eastman turned Hay down, but promised to ‘bear your matter in mind’.81 Hay then wrote to Skiff on 2 March 1894, again making application for a position with the museum. Skiff replied with regret that there were no openings available, but noted that Hay’s application would be filed ‘for future consideration if circumstances justify’.82 On 25 July 1894, probably because he had just learned of Baker’s departure, Hay wrote again to Skiff to offer himself for the vacated position. Unfortunately, Skiff was then at Great Island, Massachusetts, negotiating with Elliot to fill the vacancy.83 Elliot, however, was going to need a qualified man to help run his department, and he met with Hay in October to offer him a position. ‘Dr Hay came back & after a little conversation he has agreed to come as my assistant for six months at $90 per month, which I have stated to him was the outside figure at present’, Elliot explained in a letter to Skiff. ‘I took him to the Librarian & authorized them to give Mr Hay the keys of the [exhibit] cases & have outlined sufficient work for the Dr to busy himself with.’84 Hay, whose new title was assistant curator, was a specialist in herpetology and ichthyology. He also had a budding interest in fossils, and probably harboured ambitions to become the museum’s first vertebrate paleontologist.85 Allen, meanwhile, had been right to worry about a potential conflict with Cory, who, despite his long absences and more-or-less honorary position, was prickly about his status in the museum and could be extremely territorial with respect to the museum’s ornithological collections. For example, in June, 1895, Cory wrote confidentially to Skiff asking him to see to it that in any official museum publication he be given the same title as his fellow curators. ‘I do not care for that sort joking in private,’ he explained, ‘but do care to stand on equal footing in all ways with my associates[,] especially as I have a right to the title.’ Skiff, who was a stickler for titles and other formalities was mortified that he might have done or said something to Cory that upset him.86 A far more serious crisis of authority was provoked by Baker’s ornithological manuscript. As Cory explained in an angry letter to Skiff: The paper has annoyed me as Mr. Baker states he has received much assistance from his assistant in ornithology[,] Mr. Coale. [P]lease let us stop this farse [sic]. If my contract means anything I have control of my department and sole control[.] I must request that all reference to curator or assistant curator of my department be stopped at once and that the so-called scientific work on ornithology be put a stop to also.87 In order to ensure that his message was getting through to museum patrons, Cory went over Skiff’s head and sent a second letter to Ayer highlighting some of the same complaints. He wrote: Please see that a stop is put at once to any interference with my department. This was thoroughly understood as our contract, as you know, explicitly states I was to have entire charge of the department under no one but the Board of Trustees. I should never have thought of coming without this and will allow no unscientific man to dictate the management or arrangement of the collection, nor anyone put in my place without being selected by me or with my permission. This had better be attended to at once.88 With this, Cory made it clear to Ayer that not only was he opposed to Baker working in ornithology, but he also resented Skiff’s interference with his department. Elliot would also have his share of difficulties with Cory. These began as relatively minor – even petty – issues, but Cory took them very seriously. For example, Cory allowed that it was wise to exhibit the museum’s bird skeletons together with the other prepared osteological collections in a single hall (Fig. 8). He wrote to Skiff, however, to suggest that ‘possibly it might be wise to have it understood that anything to do with birds belongs to my Department, and might prevent question[s] in the future when I might possibly desire to use them in my lectures or work.’ He was likewise very possessive of the ornithological library that he sold to the museum. After Cory had heard a (false) rumour that Elliot wanted to relocate these books, he wrote to Skiff and explained that it was ‘understood between Mr. Ayer and myself that my library should be kept in my room . . . I trust you will insist that this be done.’ Finally, Cory was adamant that Elliot be referred to officially as curator of the Department of Zoology except Ornithology. To do otherwise, Cory insisted, was an injustice to his position. ‘[Y]ou remember you told Elliot he would be curator of zoology except Ornithology’, Cory reminded Skiff. ‘[S]imply curator of zoology is not fair to me – this you told him but I do not think he understands it so – my department is of course entirely separate, by agreement, and my assistant is subject to orders [from] no one but yourself in my absence.’89 Elliot objected strongly to the title and was reluctant to use it, but he eventually acquiesced in order to placate Cory. These were relatively minor matters easily adjudicated. Fig. 8. View largeDownload slide Hall 27 – Osteology, c.1894–1895. Here, one can see the arrangement of specimens as they were on opening day. The Field Columbian Museum’s new labels are visible here. Some of the animal skeletons shown in the background are also visible in Fig. 6. This hall was disassembled in 1896 and converted into a second hall for the Department of Ornithology. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz3809. Fig. 8. View largeDownload slide Hall 27 – Osteology, c.1894–1895. Here, one can see the arrangement of specimens as they were on opening day. The Field Columbian Museum’s new labels are visible here. Some of the animal skeletons shown in the background are also visible in Fig. 6. This hall was disassembled in 1896 and converted into a second hall for the Department of Ornithology. Courtesy, The Field Museum. csz3809. Conclusion The founders of Chicago’s Field Columbian Museum intended to establish a world-class institution in their culturally impoverished city. What is more, they meant to accomplish this feat virtually ‘in an instant’,90 by capitalizing on the success of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. One important aspect of the new museum’s mandate was the science of zoology. To this end, the founders invested an enormous sum of money to acquire several important zoological collections, including the Charles B. Cory collection of birds and the Ward’s Natural Science Establishment exhibit. The former was one of the largest private collections of bird study skins in the United States. The latter, displayed prominently at the World’s Columbian Exposition, was so large as to comprise a virtual museum unto itself. The new museum did well to acquire these collections, and to employ a small, temporary staff of zoologists to arrange these collections into a credible museum exhibit for opening day on 2 June 1894. Of far greater long-term significance to the museum was the attraction and retention of a permanent staff of scientific curators of high standing in their respective fields. In a way, the founders painted themselves into a corner with the purchase of the Cory collection. Cory had stipulated that as a condition of the sale, he was to be given the position of curator of ornithology – without compensation – for as long as he cared to serve in this capacity. Perhaps sensing a chance to save on long-term fixed costs, the founders agreed to this condition. Once Cory joined the museum’s curatorial staff, however, he pressured the founders into hiring other zoologists with whom he particularly wanted to work. This is how the museum ultimately attracted Daniel Giraud Elliot to serve as curator of zoology. To make this arrangement work, however, the founders had to split zoology into two separate departments, one, called the Department of Ornithology, to be headed by Cory as absentee curator, the other called, somewhat awkwardly, the Department of Zoology (except Ornithology), to be run by a somewhat disgruntled Elliot. This arrangement worked relatively well in the short term – despite some tension and a few conflicts – but failed and was revised ten years later. Acknowledgements This project benefitted from the efforts of two hard-working transcribers, Saul Schiffman and Wil Perkins. I am also grateful to all the librarians and archivists who gave me access to materials in their care. Especially helpful was the staff of the Field Museum Library, where the bulk of the research on this paper was done. Janet Edgerton, librarian of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, chipped in by fielding many unusual inter-library loan requests. Daniel Lewis very generously supplied me with some of his own research on H. K. Coale. Finally, Deborah Shapiro, at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Mary LeCroy, at the American Museum of Natural History and Dawn Roberts, Director of Collections at the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, provided valuable archival assistance in their respective collections. Notes and references 1 The literature on the World’s Columbian Exposition is enormous. This paragraph drew from N. Bolotin and C. Laing, The World’s Columbian Exposition: The Chicago world’s fair of 1893 (Chicago, 1992); E. Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America (New York, 2003); and R. W. Rydell, ‘The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893: racist underpinnings of a Utopian artifact’, Journal of American Culture 1 no. 2 (1978), pp. 253–75. 2 Quoted in D. L. Miller, City of the Century: The epic of Chicago and the making of America (New York, 1996), p. 488. 3 Quoted in J. W. Shepp and D. B. Shepp, Shepp’s World’s Fair Photographed (Chicago, 1893), p. 9. 4 The quotation comes from D. F. Burg, Chicago’s White City of 1893 (Lexington, 1976), pp. 112–13. For more on the world’s fair origins of the museum, see P. D. Brinkman, ‘Frederic Ward Putnam, Chicago’s cultural philanthropists, and the founding of the Field Museum’, Museum History Journal 2 no. 1 (2009), pp. 73–100. 5 See Brinkman, op. cit. (note 4), p. 79. 6 D. McVicker, ‘Buying a curator: establishing anthropology at Field Columbian Museum’, in Assembling the Past: Studies in the professionalization of archaeology, ed. A. B. Kehoe and M. B. Emmerichs (Albuquerque, 1999), p. 43. 7 For details on the early organization of museum officers, see Anonymous, ‘An historical and descriptive account of the Field Columbian Museum’, Field Columbian Museum, Publications 1 no. 1 (1894), p. 14. 8 For more on the museum’s sometimes troubled occupation of the Palace of Fine Arts, see S. G Kohlstedt and P. D. Brinkman, ‘Framing nature: the formative years of natural history museum development in the United States’, Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 55 no. 1 (2004), pp. 23–5. 9 See Brinkman, op. cit. (note 4), p. 91. See also P. D. Brinkman, ‘The “Chicago idea”: patronage, authority and scientific autonomy at the Field Columbian Museum, 1893–1897’, Museum History Journal 8 no. 2 (2015), pp. 168–87. 10 For more biographical details on Skiff, see O. C. Farrington, ‘Dr. Frederick J. V. Skiff’, Proceedings of the American Association of Museums 3 (1921), pp. 197–8; and W. N. Byers, Encyclopedia of Biography of Colorado: History of Colorado (Chicago, 1901), pp. 438–40. On Skiff’s fraught relationships with the museum’s curatorial staff see Brinkman, op. cit. (note 9). 11 Field Museum Archives (fma), letter, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 27 June 1894. 12 fma, letter, F. J. V. Skiff to C. B. Cory, 19 November 1895. 13 fma, F. J. V. Skiff, ‘Uses of the Museum’, unpublished typescript, Recorder, Historical Documents, Box 3. 14 R. Ward, Henry A. Ward: Museum builder to America (Rochester, 1948), p. 253. 15 See fma, contract between Ward’s Natural Science Establishment and the Columbian Museum, 18 November 1893, fma inv. no. 9. See also fma, F. J. V. Skiff, ‘A History of the Museum’, unpublished ms, n. d. [c.1916]. After certain rebates and allowances for breakage, the museum paid a total of $95,000 to Ward’s establishment. See fma, letters, R. Metcalf to H. A. Ward, 7 and 14 February 1894. 16 For more on Ward’s Natural Science Establishment, see S. G. Kohlstedt, ‘Henry A. Ward: the merchant naturalist and American museum development’, Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History 9 (1980), pp. 647–61; M. V. Barrow, Jr, ‘The specimen dealer: entrepreneurial natural history in America’s Gilded Age’, Journal of the History of Biology 33 (2000), pp. 493–534. 17 H. J. Van Cleave, ‘A memorial to Frank Collins Baker (1867 to 1942)’, in F. C. Baker, The Molluscan Family Planorbidae (Urbana, 1945), p. xix. 18 Ibid 19 See fma, letter, F. J. V. Skiff to A. G. Lane, 19 February 1894. Lane’s original letter is now lost. Skiff’s reply read (in part): ‘From your endorsement there can be no question as to Mr. Baker’s qualifications on scientific work of a high character, and it may be desirable for the Museum to engage him.’ 20 fma, letter, F. J. V. Skiff to R. Metcalf, 8 March 1894. Baker had been getting his mail at the same address as Walmsley, Fuller & Co., a scientific supply company that billed itself as ‘The only complete science factory in the West’. Possibly Baker had left Ward’s and gone to work for this downtown Chicago rival. 21 fma, letter, R. Metcalf to F. C. Baker, 12 March 1894. 22 For more on Frank Morley Woodruff, see W. F. Worthley, ‘Frank Morley Woodruff’, The Auk: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology 43 no. 3 (1926), pp. 577–8. On Woodruff’s contributions to the Illinois State Building ornithological exhibit, see Anonymous, Report of the Illinois Board of World’s Fair Commissioners at the World’s Columbian Exposition, May 1 – October 30, 1893 (Springfield, 1895), p. 724. The details of Woodruff’s association with the Field Columbian Museum, including his start date, his salary, etc., have not be located. Forbes, who was somewhat involved in the founding of the museum, was one of the signatories of its articles of incorporation. 23 His late brother, Lt. John H. Coale, had been a US Army quartermaster. See Anonymous, ‘Mr. Henry K. Coale’, Journal and Gazette of the United States Army and Navy 26 (1888), p. 243. 24 R. Deane, ‘Henry Kelso Coale’, The Auk: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology 44 no. 1 (1927), p. 165. 25 D. Lewis, The Feathery Tribe: Robert Ridgway and the modern study of birds (New Haven and London, 2012), p. 45. 26 See fma, letters, J. W. Ellsworth to H. K. Coale, 9 November 1893, and R. Metcalf to H. K. Coale, 13 November 1893. Copies of these letters can be found in the first volume of the director’s letter books. Coale’s original letter, to which the Ellsworth letter is the reply, has not been located. Interestingly, in 1884, when his parents were planning to move to Washington, dc, Coale had written to his club’s namesake, ornithologist Robert Ridgway, offering to exchange his personal collection of 1,000 study skins for trial employment with the Smithsonian. Ridgway, who was originally from Illinois, took this offer seriously enough to pass it along to the Smithsonian’s secretary, Spencer Fullerton Baird. Nothing ever came of this suggestion, however. See Lewis, op. cit. (note 25), p. 46. 27 fma, letter, H. K. Coale to F. J. V. Skiff, 28 January 1894. 28 American Museum of Natural History, Ornithology Department Library & Archives, letter, H. K. Cole to J. A. Allen, 30 January 1894. 29 Deane, op. cit. (note 24). 30 A letter (fma, H. K. Coale to E. E. Ayer, 5 July 1894), confirms that Coale was hired by Skiff in March. Another letter (fma, H. K. Coale to F. J. V. Skiff), confirms that Coale’s initial salary was $52 a month, and that this was raised to $60. Even with the raise, however, he was still struggling financially. In another letter (fma, H. K. Coale to F. J. V. Skiff, 12 June 1894), he complained grimly that he had had to pawn various articles, had lost his life insurance and was unable to pay his taxes. 31 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 20 January 1894. 32 For more biographical information on Cory, see W. H. Osgood, ‘In memoriam: Charles Barney Cory’, The Auk: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology 39 no. 2 (1922), pp. 151–66. 33 Ibid., p. 154. 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid. 37 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 5 January 1894. In a later letter (fma, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 26 January 1894), Cory wrote that ‘Samson without his hair would be better off than C.B.C. without his working collection.’ 38 See fma, ‘Record of Minutes of the Executive Committee of the Field Columbian Museum’ (hereafter ‘Record of Minutes’). This title was later changed to Curator of Ornithology at an executive committee meeting held on 27 June. See also fma, letter, F. J. V. Skiff to C. B. Cory, 3 July 1894. 39 Osgood, op. cit. (note 32), p. 158. 40 Quoted in ibid. 41 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 16 January 1894. 42 Ibid. 43 Ibid. 44 See fma, ‘Record of Minutes’. Cory’s letter of 10 May has not been located. Its contents were, however, recorded in the executive committee meeting minutes. 45 Letters, J. A. Allen to C. B. Cory, 9 June 1894 (two letters with the same date, one official and one personal), Charles B. Cory Papers (hereafter Cory Papers), Chicago Academy of Sciences – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago (hereafter cas). Cory’s original letter has not been located. Its contents can be gleaned from Allen’s replies. 46 cas, letter, J. A. Allen to C. B. Cory, 9 June 1894, Cory Papers. 47 cas, letter, J. A. Allen to C. B. Cory, 17 July 1894, Cory Papers. 48 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 27 June 1894. 49 fma, ‘Record of Minutes’. 50 See telegrams, fma, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 18 July 1894, and E. E. Ayer to C. B. Cory, 18 July 1894; and letters, C. B. Cory to F. J. V. Skiff, 22 August 1894, and C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 8 November 1895. 51 For more biographical information on Elliot, see Anonymous, ‘Daniel Giraud Elliot: a brief biographical sketch on the occasion of his eightieth birthday to emphasize his long devotion to scientific work and his services to the museum’, American Museum Journal 14 (1915), pp. 133–41. The quotation appears on p. 134. 52 F. M. Chapman, ‘Daniel Giraud Elliot’, The Auk: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology 34 no. 10 (1917), pp. 1–10. 53 D. G. Elliot, ‘Descriptions of six new species of birds’, The Ibis 1 no. 4 (1859), pp. 391–5. 54 Chapman, op. cit. (note 49), p. 4. 55 Anonymous, op. cit. (note 51). 56 D. G. Elliot, ‘In memoriam: Philip Lutley Sclater’, The Auk: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology 31 no. 1 (1914), p. 5. 57 Ibid., p. 7. 58 See D. G. Elliot, A Monograph of the Felidae, or Family of the Cats (London, 1883). 59 Anonymous, op. cit. (note 51). 60 Chapman, op. cit. (note 52), p. 5. See also J. A. Allen, ‘Daniel Giraud Elliot’, Science 43 (1916), pp. 159–62. 61 Anonymous, ‘Prof. D. G. Elliot accepts’, New York Times, 23 November 1894. 62 Anonymous, Guide to the Field Columbian Museum with Diagrams and Descriptions, 1st edn (Chicago, 1894), p. 111. 63 Anonymous, Guide to the Field Columbian Museum with Diagrams and Descriptions, 2nd edn (Chicago, 1894), p. 109. 64 Anonymous, op. cit. (note 7), pp. 66–8. 65 Anonymous, ‘All ready to open’, Chicago Tribune, 29 April 1894. 66 Anonymous, ‘Gems of the fair’, Chicago Tribune, 3 June 1894. 67 fma, letter, F.J.V. Skiff to S. H. Peabody, 27 June 1894. 68 fma, telegram, F.J.V. Skiff to C. B. Cory, 20 June 1894. A copy of the text of this telegram can be found in the director’s letter book. 69 fma, telegram, C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 24 June 1894. 70 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 27 June 1894. The Auk was an ornithological journal then edited by Allen. 71 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 27 June 1894. Cory’s letter mentions another missive sent to Ryerson which, unfortunately, has not been located. 72 fma, letter, F.J.V. Skiff to D. C. Davies, 26 June 1894. 73 fma, letter, F.J.V. Skiff to S. H. Peabody, 27 June. 74 See W. B. Hendrickson and W. J. Beecher, ‘In the service of science: the history of the Chicago Academy of Sciences’, Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences 11 no. 2 (1972), pp. 237–8; and W. K. Higley, ‘Historical sketch of the Academy’, Chicago Academy of Sciences Special Publication 1 (1902), p. 41. 75 cas, Biographical Notes of Frank Collins Baker, (n.d.), Institutional Records, Personnel, Staff. 76 Hendrickson and Beecher, op. cit. (note 74), pp. 239–40. 77 fma, letter, H. K. Coale to E. E. Ayer, 5 July 1894. 78 R. Boulton, ‘Important bird collection acquired by museum’, Field Museum News 6 no. 9 (1935), p. 3. 79 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to E. E. Ayer, 16 January 1894. 80 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 22 August 1894. 81 fma, letter, S. C. Eastman to O. P. Hay, 10 October 1893. Hay’s original letter, to which this is the reply, has not been located. 82 fma, letter, F.J.V. Skiff to O. P. Hay, 3 March 1894. Hay’s letter, apparently dated 2 March, has not been located. O. P. Hay’s name was written on the back of Cory’s letter to Ayer, 27 June 1894, where Cory urged the museum to hire either Allen or Elliot. It was not written in Cory’s hand, which suggests that the museum had kept Hay in mind for a position – possibly as an alternative to Elliot. 83 fma, letter, Acting Director [W. H. Holmes] to O. P. Hay, 26 July 1894. Hay’s letter has not been located. 84 fma, letter, D. G. Elliot to F.J.V. Skiff, 6 October 1894. For more on Hay and his brief tenure at the Field Columbian Museum, see P. D. Brinkman, The Second Jurassic Dinosaur Rush: Museums & paleontology in America at the turn of the twentieth century (Chicago and London, 2010); P. D. Brinkman, ‘Edward Drinker Cope’s final feud’, Archives of Natural History 43 no. 2 (2016), pp. 305–20; and Brinkman, op. cit. (note 9). 85 P. D. Brinkman, ‘Establishing vertebrate paleontology at Chicago’s Field Columbian Museum, 1893–1898’, Archives of Natural History 27 no. 1 (2000), p. 92. 86 fma, letters, C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 19 June 1895, and F.J.V. Skiff to C. B. Cory, 26 June 1895. 87 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 27 June 1894. 88 fma, letter, C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 27 June 1894. 89 fma, letters, C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 10 November 1894; C. B. Cory to F.J.V. Skiff, 8 November 1895; Cory to Skiff, 22 August 1894. See also Cory to Ayer, 8 November 1895, and Skiff to Cory, 19 November 1895. 90 Anonymous, op. cit. (note 7), p. 15. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Journal of the History of Collections – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 7, 2018
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